Monthly Archives: August 2016

Pinterest Parenting Done Right

New baby has taken to waking me up at 3 am with a sharp kick to the bladder. Once I get back from the bathroom and back into bed (dear mommy & me fitness leader: thank you for scaring the crap out of me about pelvic floor health so my bed is still warm AND dry), I can’t get back to sleep. After Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I really should just switch over to Netflix, but my thumb always manages to click Pinterest on the way, and before long, I find myself getting mad at the sanctimonious pregnancy, labour and parenting blog posts that claim to tell you “all the lies your doctor tells you because of Big Pharma” or “why having a completely natural birth will be your best gift to your baby” or “how to be the smug mom on the playground whose kid sleeps through the night at 10 weeks”

I can remember reading some of these posts the first time around when I was pregnant with Charlotte. Some met with derision (seriously, guys, is drinking that putrid sugar elixir ONCE going to do THAT MUCH MORE damage than having an unchecked health condition?), some I foolishly believed (and then felt guilty for months that my child would be marred for life because I finally accepted an epidural) and some I examined with a inquisitive yet critical eye, making mental notes but mostly wondering how much was written through rose coloured glasses.

And this time around? I know they’re all bunk. I’m going to drink the putrid sugar elixir (but still complain about it because, ya, it’s probably not the healthiest thing you can put in your body).  I’m going to see how long I can labour without medical pain management (but not at the expense of my sanity this time, thank you very much). And I know that regardless of whether you let your kid sleep on you for the first six weeks, or immediately sleep train them from day one, there will be nights they sleep through the night, and there will be nights that they wake up a million and one times because kids are kids, not robots.

Every once and a while, my logical side takes hold, forces me to go to sleep and, if I remember, start fact checking some articles the next morning. Only once have I found an article that referenced an actual peer reviewed study in a reputable scholarly journal (eating 6 dates a day for the four weeks prior to your due date will increase cervival dilation in early stages of labour, and shorten the time from when contractions start to the point when you reach transition).

And the rest? They’re based in anecdotes, hearsay and, to a degree, old wives tales. I’ve scrolled through the comment section and found that in the majority of cases, those lauding the author for her bravery to take on the medical system, her martyrdom for standing up for the cause, her selflessness in praising herself for how good of a job she is doing raising her kids, were mostly mothers who had yet to birth their first child. That’s not to say that there aren’t mothers with air breathing children out there who would agree with some or all of the points in the post. That’s not to say that all the mothers with air breathing children are commenting their disagreement.

It mostly just seems like these mothers of air breathing children are out their raising these children to the best of their ability and recognizing “hey, maybe it’s not all as easy, as black and white, as foolproof as I thought it would be, but whatever choices I made in pregnancy, in delivery and in raising this child couldn’t have been that terrible if this kid isn’t always completely driving me nuts”

And to me, that’s a sign of a parent doing something right.

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

CSAdventures

Community Supported Agriculture is a great way to feel good about investing in the local market, feel good about the foods you’re serving your family, and feel good about how colourful it makes your fridge or your Instagram feed.

It’s also a good opportunity to feel entirely overwhelmed, discouraged at the amount of vegetables that spoil (especially when you find a recipe you want to try in order to use something up “before it goes bad”), and generally paralyzed over how to deal with a fresh CSA box when all you want is a greasy burger and fries from Five Guys.

Eight weeks in, my brother-in-law, who happens to be a retailer of locally grown produce, asked whether we felt we were getting our value out of the CSA. It really felt like two different questions: are we getting our money’s worth of vegetables and are we making use of all vegetables. Those were two very different answers for us. Without a doubt, we are getting delicious, quality vegetables. We certainly get a LOT of vegetables in our pack. Once we got past the first few weeks (which are understandably difficult in our Zone 3 fields), we definitely get a LOT of variety.

But we’re picky eaters. And there are few vegetables we all agree on (cucumbers, carrots and peas are pretty standard in our house). We’re more likely to agree on what we don’t like (braised leafy greens, beets). It’s been difficult coming up with recipes for vegetables we don’t usually eat. As a result, we’ve had more spoilage than we’d like to admit.

Especially once we realized that all the tops for the root vegetables? Ya, we’re supposed to eat those too.

The only one who hasn’t struggled has been C. While she’s never been big into leafy greens, she is more than willing to try anything that’s brightly coloured (and green is a colour afterall!). She has even been known to walk off with some produce when we’re sorting and putting it away. (At first, I thought it was sweet that she was treating a zucchini like a baby. It made me worry a little less about how she would treat a younger sibling. She was so gentle, and caring. And then she took a giant bite out of it).

Over half done our 16 week season, we’re starting to get the hang of it. We have two recipes for zucchini that don’t make me want to gag. Most of our spoilage now comes from a vegetable rolling to the back of the fridge. We are, by no means, experts, but as picky eaters who are more likely to eat carbs, we’re pretty proud at how far we’ve come.


Newbie CSA Tips

  • Switch your grocery day to the day after your CSA pick up
    Even on weeks when we knew we’d be getting something like beets, we never knew how many. Sometimes it was enough for a garnish. Other times it was enough for a full salad to bring to a family gathering. Giving yourself 24 hours to figure out what you can make from the vegetables you have.
  • Don’t feel guilty about repeating a recipe if you find one for a veggie you’re not crazy about
    Zucchini grows like a weed here, and I’m not much of a fan. The only way I can stomach is is barely sauteed as noodles, or shredded into “meat” balls. If there i a chance of it getting soggy, I’m gagging. Sometimes it’s just safer to stick with what you know will work with difficult vegetables rather than giving you more reason to dislike a vegetable.
  • Don’t feel like you have to eat them all that week
    Now not every vegetable will last in the fridge beyond 7 days (especially not locally grown organic vegetables), and it’s not always a good idea to “save” vegetables when you know more and more will be showing up a week later. But remember that sweet-turned-sour moment where C babied a zucchini, and then bit into it? That happened after we’d already started making a non-zucchini supper. If we wanted to “save” the zucchini, we had to think fast, and think long term. As Scott finished up supper, I whipped up a batch of Autumn Vegetable soup to freeze for a winter day (pureeing the zucchini, obviously.
  • Make pesto
    I think every “green” that we got, when I researched how to use it, included at least one recipe for pesto. Chard. Beet greens. Celery greens. Apparently basil is totally replaceable (and trust me, after having fresh, local garlic, you know THAT is the important ingredient in the recipe).  And the best part? Pesto freezes up nicely in ice cube trays
  • Know when to admit defeat
    If I see another beet green, I’ll lose it. I’m tempted to send Scott to veggie pick up with a knife so he can chop them off the beets and hand them directly to my parents when he picks up C. A friend at work has also said she’ll take anything off my hands. One week we had more kale than we knew what to do with (and we like kale), so we made a kale salad for a family gathering.
  • Expect to still buy produce at the grocery store
    The week you expect lettuce will be the week you don’t get it. And that mint you hoped would last just a few more days got a little too close to that cold spot in the fridge. And sometimes, even the best farmer can’t beat blight.
Categories: The new identity | 1 Comment

Toddler Bed Transition: To the Big Girl Bed & Room

Less than 36 hours after a mattress arrived into the newly emptied “Reading Room,” I came home from work to a weird dynamic happening in my kitchen. A concerned Scott was staring, somewhat disbelievingly, at my determined toddler.

“It seems,” Scott started, “C has decided she’s moving into her big sister room. Tonight. She is not willing to negotiate”.

So she slept in her big girl room in her big girl bed, only waking up the first night, in the middle of the night, a little confused about where she was. There are still growing pains – I’ve bought the curtains, but haven’t hung them. We’re still hunting down a bookshelf. And pregnant mama is trying to decide whether she’s more comfortable trying to squeeze a belly and a toddler onto her lap in a cheap Ikea chair, or pull herself off the mattress on the ground in order to read bedtime stories.

Oh, and we were still having bedtime troubles with a kid who insisted on being watched by a parents as she fell asleep.

So we took a page from her book. We decided she was going to fall asleep on her own. And we were not willing to negotiate. We knew she could do it — it’d been a good part of a year where she would put herself to sleep. We also knew she wasn’t pulling that stunt at Nana & Grandpa daycare (even though she could probably convince them to snuggle her to sleep if she really wanted). And we knew that a little bit of crying, or more accurately, whining, wouldn’t hurt. After all, she was crying and whining for more stories and more lullabies when we were sitting in the room with her, too.

And after about 6 minutes (less than when she’s getting attention), she was asleep. And less than a week later, the stress of figuring out how to make the transition and how to get her to get back into the habit of falling asleep on her own are just a vague memory.

Now if only her latest determined decision — potty training — will go that easy!

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Currently: In August

Every morning I wake up thinking it’s the second week in August (wishful thinking, as that’s the week we’re on vacation) and so I keep forgetting to do this month’s currently!

Exploring:  our city and surrounding area. Between stuff we have to do around the house and birthday parties galore, we haven’t had time to do the usual things in the city that we would try to get to on weekends. And since I am very attached to sleeping in my bed at night (whenever I can actually sleep), we decided the terribly termed “staycation” is where it’s at this year. We’ll kick it off with watching the Olympic opening ceremonies, trespass into my sister’s new backyard for a dip in the pool, and then head to our nearest provincial park for a day at the beach. A trip to the zoo is a must, and the Children’s Museum as well, but we’re more than willing to wake up and decide what we feel like doing. We’re ending the week with a camping trip with my family up at our nearest national park.

Creating: a new bedroom for C in a hurry. We were ready for a slow transition from have nursery to her “big sister room” but she decided one day it was time to make the move, so we borrowed some sheets, tacked some fabric over the window and sprinted to Ikea to buy everything else we needed to make the room usable. Next step: make the room pretty!

Hearting: Naps. We’ve agreed to not insist on naps for C on our week off since toddler naps are notoriously long and ill-timed but she will nap on days I want to nap. Usually I nap on the couch so I hear when she wakes up on weekends to not lose out on any time with her, but I’m planning a few bedroom naps so Scott can be in charge of getting her and letting me get all the sleep I need.

Watching: Friends but boy am I glad that I’m in the later seasons. Those early ones really show how far we’ve come in the last 22 years. Those early episodes are cringe inducing at time with their homophobic comedic stylings.

Eating: everything salty and sweet. Together. Salted butter and homemade jam on toast, especially. Take that, Old Wive’s Tales.

Thank you Anne, as always, and thank you Dana, our guest-host for this month! (AHA! That’s why I’ve had Dana’s blog bookmarked for the last month! I’ve been enjoying reading along over the last few weeks but couldn’t remember where I had come across her blog!). Ooh! And next month Beth is guest hosting!

 

Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

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